Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Saturday, May 28, 2005
Mixed Martial Arts--- It's Saturday and there are no boxing or MMA events scheduled to be televised tonight, which is the first time that has happened in a long time. And no, I'm not counting the $40 boxing pay-per-view with Julio Cesar Chavez in the main event, which I would imagine is only going to be purchased by approximately six people other than die-hard Chavez fans. With no big boxing or MMA events this weekend, it's the perfect time for an MMA News Round-Up...

Two More Fights Added to Pride Line-Up
Pride has announced two more fights that will take place at "Pride: Critical Countdown 2005" on June 26th. The #2 heavyweight fighter in the world, Brazil's Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, will face Poland's Pawel Natsula, who is an Olympic Gold Medalist in judo. Also, the young heavyweight star from Russia, Sergei Kharitonov, will face UFC veteran Pedro Rizzo, who is making his Pride debut.

These two heavyweight fights are in addition to the four quarter-final match-ups in the 205-pound Pride Grand Prix. Those match-ups will be Vanderlei Silva vs. Kazuhiro Nakamura, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, Ricardo Arona vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, and Igor Vovchanchyn vs. Alistair Overeem.

The much-anticipated Pride Heavyweight Title fight between Emelianenko Fedor and Mirko Cro Cop will not be taking place at the June 26th due to a broken bone in Fedor's hand. Also, Pride made the mistake once again of scheduling one of its events on the same day as a WWE pay-per-view, so the Critical Countdown show will not be broadcast in the United States on Sunday, June 26th. Instead, it will be broadcast on a five-day tape delay on Friday, July 1st.

K-1 Las Vegas Attendance Better Than Usual
The K-1 USA event that was recently held at the Bellagio Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas drew a higher attendance than K-1 normally draws in the United States. The total attendance was 4,879, with a total of 3,119 paid tickets and 1,760 free "comp" tickets. The total live gate was $256,250.

This is a drastic difference from K-1's previous Las Vegas events, which have normally had 70 to 80 percent of their tickets given away as free comp tickets in order to fill the building and make it look good on TV. In the case of this particular event, it still had 35 percent of its tickets given away as comps, but that's much better than 70 or 80 percent.

For the purposes of comparison, UFC 52 in Las Vegas had 12,643 paid tickets and 1,631 comp tickets, for a total attendance of 14,274 and a total live gate of $2,575,450. (Click here for more details on the UFC 52 business figures.)

At the same time, it's all a matter of perspective. K-1 is far more successful in its home country of Japan than the UFC is in the United States, mainly because MMA and kickboxing are accepted mainstream sports in Japan. It was considered a huge success in the American cable television industry for the UFC to draw a 1.9 overall rating for its April 9th live event on Spike TV, while in Japan it's not uncommon for MMA events to draw ratings of 20.0 or even 30.0. Nothing on American television reaches that level of viewership other than the Super Bowl. Mixed martial arts still has a long way to go before it's as accepted and mainstream in the United States as it is in Japan.

Plans for The Ultimate Fighter's Middleweight Finalists
It's expected that before he fights again, Diego Sanchez will undergo the hip surgery that he has needed for quite some time, which was briefly talked about in one of The Ultimate Fighter's season one episodes. In addition, Sanchez flat-out said after winning The Ultimate Fighter's middleweight competition that he was dropping down to welterweight for his future UFC fights.

As for the other TUF middleweight finalist, Kenny Florian said in a post on the Underground Forum that he does have a contract to fight again in the UFC, but it's not the three-year, $350,000 contract that the winners got. Florian also said that his future fights in the UFC would be in the welterweight division, which is closer to his natural weight.

Final UFC 53 Line-Up
Here's the full line-up for UFC 53, which will be taking place next Saturday, June 4th. The co-main events will feature UFC Interim Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski facing off with Justin Eilers, while UFC Middleweight Champion Evan Tanner defends his title against Rich Franklin. It's expected that Matt Lindland will be the #1 contender who eventually faces the winner of the Tanner-Franklin bout.

As for the heavyweight title picture, the rumored return date for UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir is October. Mir is still recovering from a broken leg suffered in a motorcycle accident last year. It's expected that Mir will face whoever the Interim Heavyweight Champion is at the time of his return, which would be the winner of the Arlovski-Eilers fight.

Also on the UFC 53 card:

-The Ultimate Fighter's light-heavyweight winner Forrest Griffin will be going against Canadian heavy hitter Bill Mahood

-Another TUF contestant, middleweight Nate Quarry, will be facing the returning UFC veteran Shonie Carter

-Rising heavyweight star Paul Buentello will try to continue his winning ways against Kevin Jordan, who has a 10-3 MMA record and is making his UFC debut

-Young welterweight star Karo Parisyan will face off with Matt Serra, who is moving up from lightweight

-Another young welterweight star, Nick Diaz, will face Koji Oishi, who is being sent from Japan as a representative of the Pancrase MMA organization

-David Loiseau, fresh off a UFC victory in February, will face the debuting Charles McCarthy, who has an 8-2 MMA record and could be a future star at middleweight

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